Romney: Obama is no leader

posted at 3:07 pm on June 10, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

As I wrote yesterday, the 2012 presidential election will certainly involve a debate on issues, but will probably hinge on leadership and competence.  Republicans wanting to make Barack Obama a one-term President will have to make a case for superior executive talent and experience and contrast that with Obama’s demonstrable failures as an executive and a leader.  Mitt Romney makes the early case against Obama in today’s USA Today, saying that the nation does not need a Politician-In-Chief in times of crisis:

Has it come to this again? The president is meeting with his oil spill experts, he crudely tells us, so that he knows “whose ass to kick.” We have become accustomed to his management style — target a scapegoat, assign blame and go on the attack. To win health care legislation, he vilified insurance executives; to escape bankruptcy law for General Motors, he demonized senior lenders; to take the focus from the excesses of government, he castigated business meetings in Las Vegas; and to deflect responsibility for the deepening and lengthening downturn, he blames Wall Street and George W. Bush. But what may make good politics does not make good leadership. And when a crisis is upon us, America wants a leader, not a politician.

We saw leadership on Sept. 11, 2001. Then as now, black billows seemed to come from the center of the earth. Lives had been lost. The environmental impact was immeasurable. The looming economic impact from lost tourism was incalculable. Into the crisis walked Rudy Giuliani. While that was an incomparable human tragedy, how the mayor led New York City to recover is a useful model for the president.

Rudy camped out at Ground Zero — he didn’t hole up in his office or retreat to his residence. His presence not only reassured the people of New York that someone was in charge, it also enabled the mayor to assess the situation firsthand, to take the measure of the people he had on the ground, and to understand the scope of the crisis.

Giuliani is a good example for Romney to use, but one has to wonder whether Romney might be helping a competing contender for the 2012 nomination.  Giuliani hasn’t exactly stayed silent during the Obama administration, and he refused to run for Governor or Senator in New York when he would have been highly competitive in both races.  Giuliani may still have his eye on the top job, and after the bumbling of this administration in times of crisis, America’s Mayor would have a pretty good leg up on his competition.

Romney continues to contrast Giuliani’s performance in the days after 9/11 to make the unfavorable comparison to Obama:

What happens when men and women of various backgrounds, fields of expertise, and unfettered intellectual freedom come together to tackle a problem often exceeds any reasonable expectation. Ideas from one may cross-fertilize the thinking of another, yielding breakthroughs. The president of MIT told me that the university spent millions of dollars to build a bridge connecting two engineering departments that had been separated by a road — the potential for shared thinking made it more than worth the cost.

But even a gathering of experts won’t accomplish much unless a skilled leader uses their perspective to guide the recovery. So far, it has been the CEO of BP who has been managing the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The president surely can’t rely on BP — its track record is suspect at best: Its management of this crisis has been characterized by obfuscation and lack of preparation. And BP’s responsibilities to its shareholders conflict with the greater responsibility to the nation and to the planet. …

President Obama’s instigation of criminal investigations of BP at this juncture is classic diversion politics — and worse, it will engender bunker mentality at a time when collaboration and openness are most critical. BP’s actions and inactions are reprehensible; it must be made to pay the billions upon billions of dollars that this spill will ultimately cost. But call out the phalanx of lawyers later — solve the crisis today.

Most of these same criticisms have already been coming from the Right in the last couple of weeks.  Some of them have even come from the Left, with Rolling Stone blasting Obama’s leadership.  That doesn’t mean that the issue is off the table, though.  Republicans need to keep hammering home the lack of leadership Obama and his team have demonstrated in this crisis, and establish that far from changing the way Washington works, Obama has indulged himself in slash-and-attack politics more than perhaps any President since Nixon while doing less than any in recent memory. “Diversion politics” is a good term for what Romney describes.

Time to look for real executive talent and leadership.  Romney remains modest in this particular argument, eschewing any self-reference, but his argument in 2007-8 was that he alone had the executive experience and success necessary for the job, in both the private and public sectors.  There will be more Republicans making that argument in 2011-2, and the field will almost certainly tilt to meet this basic argument against a second Obama term.  Even if Romney may not be the ultimate beneficiary of it, he has the standing to frame the argument.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

Do you see why I question your motives? This is a well prepared list of talking points that I believe the Romney campaign has given you for just these posts. It is all well and good, I mean, we all have to make a buck in a difficult economy. But, really, I don’t care if Ronald Reagan worked on ROMNEYCARE, Go sell socialized Medicine somewhere else. We have plenty of that to deal with already.

Dan Pet on June 11, 2010 at 3:07 PM

“**(I also pointed our your spelling errors, as you love to play this game with others who disagree with you.)”

I don’t point out spelling errors. I pointed out someone’s use of the word “irregardless” which is a bogus word.

“The Federal Government should stay out of the “Save Me!!!” business”

Agreed, but not on a state level. What church funds people who are unemployed?

sheryl on June 11, 2010 at 3:07 PM

Here are the facts about RomneyCare.

RomneyCare is not the same as ObamaCare and there are at least 9 differences that show why they are not the same.

Finally, please educate yourself on the facts behind the individual mandates.

Conservative Samizdat on June 11, 2010 at 3:10 PM

“Federal Government should stay out of the “Save Me!!!” business”

Agreed but not on the state or local level. What church funds unemployment?

sheryl on June 11, 2010 at 3:24 PM

What church funds people who are unemployed?

sheryl on June 11, 2010 at 3:07 PM

Plenty of churches offer food & shelter, including the church I belong to. The congregation has been hit hard with unemployment. We help eachother out. Trade skills for things that people need, offer daycare for parents who have to work 2 jobs now to get by. Our church is offering classes on how to make wholesome meals out of less expensive foods. How to stretch a dollar. How to be thrifty. This is how things used to work before the Government stepped in and decided everyone should look to them for help.

Is it the responsibility of the State or Federal Government to create enough job openings within itself to employ everyone? You sure sound like a Big Government lover Mitt Girl.

portlandon on June 11, 2010 at 3:27 PM

“You sure sound like a Big Government lover Mitt Girl”

Of course I do because you are so far out to the fringe right, that anyone who is even slightly to the left of you is a socialist.

Again what church funds unemployment for those people who just lost their jobs.

sheryl on June 11, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Not only does The Church do what portlandon says it has all kinds of help with men/women looking for work who are professionals, ie., classes, resume writing, intro to business who are looking for employees. It also takes refugees, gives them a job and teaches them a skill so they can go out in the real world and get a job, gives them English lessons, helps them with food and clothing. They don’t believe in giving them something for nothing. They are required to learn a skill and then contribute to society. For anyone between they are also given help in interviewing, resume writing, computer skills etc., etc.

Bambi on June 11, 2010 at 3:42 PM

Again what church funds unemployment for those people who just lost their jobs.

sheryl on June 11, 2010 at 3:38 PM

The Church of Washington DC. /

Why must churches fund unemployment MittGirl?

Of course I do because you are so far out to the fringe right, that anyone who is even slightly to the left of you is a socialist.

sheryl on June 11, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Fringe Right? Laughable. I am liberal in some social areas, but demand fiscal restraint. I’m just not a fiscal liberal like yourself and the Romney bunch.

portlandon on June 11, 2010 at 3:50 PM

They are required to learn a skill and then contribute to society.

Bambi on June 11, 2010 at 3:42 PM

Exactly +100

In fact there are some unemployed people in our church who clean the church, take car of the grounds in exchange for the help they need.

Churches offer alot to people.

portlandon on June 11, 2010 at 3:56 PM

“Why must churches fund unemployment MittGirl?”

Businesses should and do thru unemployment taxes collected by the state.

So unless you think the church should become the state and collect the taxes and then hire a staff to allocate the unemployment, I’m not sure what you’re advocating.

I don’t know any church (yours sounds lovely btw) that can withstand supporting the millions of people out of work.

I’m not big government just because I believe that some government is needed in our society.

sheryl on June 11, 2010 at 4:01 PM

Businesses should and do thru unemployment taxes collected by the state.

I’m not big government just because I believe that some government is needed in our society.

sheryl on June 11, 2010 at 4:01 PM

The Founding Fathers never thought that this (unemployment) was the type of government needed by American society.
Before the 1960′s and the advent of LBJ’s welfare state, unemployment pay was unheard of.

With any luck, it will be done away with under a lean, clean budget of President Palin.
As portlandon points out, this is what churches, friends, neighbors and families used to do exclusively.

BTW, I proved to you that “irregardless” is a real word, defined by both Merriam-Webster and the New Oxford Dictionary, while you have misspelled and misused many words just on this thread alone.
You need to quit your job as the English policewoman as well as that of Big State policy wonk for Mittens.

Jenfidel on June 11, 2010 at 4:33 PM

BTW, I proved to you that “irregardless” is a real word, defined by both Merriam-Webster and the New Oxford Dictionary, while you have misspelled and misused many words just on this thread alone.
You need to quit your job as the English policewoman as well as that of Big State policy wonk for Mittens.

Jenfidel on June 11, 2010 at 4:33 PM

LOL. I love it. =)

portlandon on June 11, 2010 at 4:43 PM

“this is what churches, friends, neighbors and families used to do exclusively.”

Conservatism doesn’t equal no government which is pretty much what you are advocating.

I’m a small government (local and state) person who likes Mitt Romney and I think the word “irregardless” should never be used.

sheryl on June 11, 2010 at 6:12 PM

By the way, sheryl, Mitt belongs to the same church.

Bambi on June 11, 2010 at 7:19 PM

As portlandon points out, this is what churches, friends, neighbors and families used to do exclusively.

Jenfidel on June 11, 2010 at 4:33 PM

I think hell froze over because I actually agree with Jenfidel for once.

Prior to the introduction of the welfare state, taking care of the poor and sick was exclusively a private enterprise rather than a public (government) enterprise.

Religous and non religious charitable organizations provided shelters, food banks, hospitals, orphanages, clothing, employment assistance, and other services to those who neededed.

And these private institutions more often than not provided better welfare services than the government.

And furthermore, the LDS Church doesn’t have an exclusive monopoly on running programs to help the needy. Other churches have great and impressive programs to help those who needed it.

Conservative Samizdat on June 11, 2010 at 9:02 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4